A lifelong dream is finally coming true for Penrith softballer Shaylan Whatman after she was selected to represent Australia at the U19 Women’s World Cup.
The 18-year-old was chosen in the Junior Spirit team following an outstanding year on the pitch. Whatman will compete against some of the best countries in the world, when competition gets underway in California this August.
The Penrith City Softball Association (PCSA) representative said she was excited and relieved when she learned she’d made the team.
“I’m really excited… I received an email the other day which asked me to ring a phone number as soon as I could, so I rang back and I was told the good news,” Whatman told the Weekender.
“This is my first time representing Australia, it’s so overwhelming because I’ve waited so long to hear back.
“I told my mum first, she’s been really on edge as was I. She wants to go to Disneyland so bad.”
Whatman began playing softball at 10 and since then has represented her state on numerous occasions. Her prime positions are third baseman and catcher.
The university student said it’s been her goal since she was young to wear the green and gold.
“That’s been my goal since day one. I’ve been pretty set and hoping to play for Australia, just to represent my country will be an awesome experience,” she said.
“All of my coaches at Penrith City have really helped and supported me in every team I’ve made. They’ve always been there for me.”
Following Whatman’s experience with the national team, she will remain in the United States to study and play softball at Pensacola State College in Florida.
“After the World Cup is over I’ll be flying to Florida and will be living and studying there for two years. Following that, I hope to transfer to another college in the US.”
Including Whatman, 17 players were selected in the final Junior Spirit team. The side will be looking to improve on their seventh place finish at the 2017 U19 Women’s World Championship.
“We’re confident the 17 girls we’ve chosen to compete will represent their country with pride both on and off the diamond in Irvine,” Softball Australia COO, Chet Gray said.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.